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Staff Reviews

The Griffin's Toro Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

The curiously named and, I believe, only gargoyle-themed cigar in existence is The Griffin’s, and today I’m smoking a 6.5 x 50 Toro to offer a full appraisal of its taste, aroma, construction, and value. And don’t worry, you’re not the first person to Google, “what’s a griffin?” The Griffin’s is named for the mythological creature once pictured in the logo of the now defunct Swedish automaker, Saab – a half eagle, half lion symbolizing wisdom, strength, and craftiness. Despite the menacing likeness of its namesake, The Griffin’s cigar brand is a godsend for value vultures across the country.

If you’ve ever gazed longingly at the Davidoff section in your local humidor, but you’re too tight on cash to splurge for an illustrious White Label, The Griffin’s is an easy ticket to Shangri-La. Davidoff’s master cigar-maker, Hendrik Kelner, was blending and producing The Griffin’s in 1984, well before he was tapped to take charge of Davidoff production. It could be said The Griffin’s laid the groundwork for what we know and love from the Davidoff portfolio today. However, most of the press The Griffin’s has received is more than ten or fifteen years old. The brand’s under-the-radar reputation only adds to its mouthwatering value. It’s better known as a Cigar Boom-era brand.

The Griffin’s are shipped in standard slide-top boxes of 25 cigars, each adorned with a simple white band picturing the winged lion with a bird’s head on the front. The cigars are handmade at the Davidoff factory in the Dominican Republic to the same uncompromising standards of other Davidoff products. A golden-blond Ecuador Connecticut wrapper leaf encloses a mellow amalgam of premium Dominican long-fillers in a collection of traditional shapes.

I single out an attractive Toro from the top row and slide its cellophane off and access cold aromas of cedar, fresh grain, and a touch of pepper. With a quick snip to the cap, The Griffin’s serves up luscious notes of almond, baking spices, cedar, and vanilla bean before it’s lit. The cigar’s seamless, satin-like texture conveys consistent density from head to foot.

Elegant notes of blonde roast coffee, nuts, and cedar create a carefree impression in the first puffs. The draw is effortless, as is expected with any brand produced according the stringent guidelines Davidoff rollers follow. Hints of honey and fresh bread develop with a bit of spice. The ash flakes off a little early in a few spots, but the burn self-corrects as I continue puffing. The Griffin’s is a good choice for a first cigar of the day or when you’re craving something approachable to pair with an icy beer in the summertime.

After twenty-five minutes, the Toro dials in an earthy taste with a dash of mushroom and fennel. I prefer the sweet coffee and vanilla bean notes of the first half, but they resume with added zest over the course of another fifteen minutes. The clear and creamy draws never stray from the soft impression they began with, which is evidence of a well-made cigar. 

As I get down to the band, I decide to remove it to test the finish on The Griffin’s until it’s too hot to handle. The blend is classified as medium-bodied, but Dominican cigars from Davidoff tend to stop short of over-intensifying at the end. My Toro is no exception. The last few puffs are tranquil and peppery. I get a solid fifty-five minutes of smoking before the nub fully expires.    

The Griffin’s is drawn from a simple formula of creamy, mild tobaccos and is a close Xerox of higher-priced Davidoff blends. My sincere suggestion – buy a few singles to sample The Griffin’s, but splurge on a box if you like them. During our recurring weekly specials, the original price drops by over $5 per cigar on select sizes, and The Griffin’s is a brand you can easily stockpile and share with your buddies. Give “the gargoyle” some love and grab a clawful for the lowest prices online. Ciao!   

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